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High accident rate keeps Nepal on European blacklist

Nepalese authorities hopes of an expeditious removal from the European Commission’s airline blacklist have been crushed in the regulator’s latest air safety assessment.

The Asian state was subjected to a blanket ban five years ago.

Its air transport regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, had disclosed last year that it had been removed from an ICAO list of countries with significant safety concerns, following an audit.

But its efforts to convince the European Commission to lift restrictions have suffered a setback.

Formal documentation accompanying the Commission’s latest blacklist revision states that CAAN has made “some limited progress” regarding implementation of international safety standards.

“However, the information provided is insufficient to conclude on the real safety situation in Nepal,” it adds.

The Commission document also points out that, since the beginning of this year, at least four civil aviation accidents have occurred in Nepal.

These include the most recent, involving a Yeti Airlines British Aerospace Jetstream badly damaged in Kathmandu on 1 September.

While CAAN has requested an on-site assessment from the European air safety committee, this has been rejected as “premature” by the Commission.

“[This is] because the ratio of accidents in Nepal continues to be unacceptably high,” it states.

“Nepal should first aim at reducing the number of accidents and to provide satisfactory evidence in that regard for a minimum period of two years.”

It has not made any revision to the blacklisting of Nepalese carriers. The Commission says the country’s regulator should concentrate on implementing recommendations from investigation reports, produce analyses of root causes, and take measures to address them.

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